Mitigating Traceability Challenges

Runergy Showcases Prowess In Supply Chain Traceability And Complete Vertical Integration

Mitigating Traceability Challenges

Self-Reliance: Runergy showcased its true vertical integration right from quartz mining to module manufacturing, which eases quality and cost control. (Photo Credit: TaiyangNews)

  • Runergy is among a handful of PV manufacturers with a truly integrated inhouse supply chain starting from quartz mining to modules 
  • Its complete vertical integration eases traceability 
  • Runergy is one among the leading cell makers that have ventured into modules and the company has opted for TOPCon as the base technology for now 

Traceability, which was a buzzword in PV circles, still has some relevance in a few key solar markets. Regional sustainability compliances, like the USA’s solar supply chain traceability protocol and Europe’s carbon border adjustment mechanism (CBAM), pose significant challenges to overseas importers in terms of traceability compliances. Vertical integration with control over the complete value chain not only eases the complex traceability task, it also offers resilience against market fluctuation, better control over the quality, and helps in optimizing production costs. In fact, vertical integration from quartz mining all the way to module manufacturing and complete traceability compliance were the key highlights of Runergy technical support manager Victor M. Rada’s presentation at TaiyangNews annual virtual conference: High-Efficiency Solar Technologies 2023 – Today, Tomorrow And Beyond. 

Supply Side  

Founded in 2013, Runergy, well known as a cell maker, had quickly become one among the top 3 global cell makers by 2020. The company’s total cell shipments had crossed 50 GW by the end of 2022. In 2023 it had 25 GW of PERC cell production capacity in China. By the end of 2023 , it expected to have more than 38 GW of cell production capacity for  TOPCon, which has become its primary technology focus of late. In parallel, it is also working on heterojunction (HJT) and plans to introduce respective products as per market demands. 

However, Runergy is among the leading cell suppliers to foray into module manufacturing, and with big plans. We are in a transition mode to become a leading PV module manufacturer with over 20 GW capacity by the end of 2023,” said Rada. He further emphasized that a 7 GW integrated cell and module manufacturing facility in Thailand offers a green channel to export its products to the US. 

In addition to integrated cell and module production, Runergy also has full control over the complete value chain. It is also somewhat unique here in that its value chain starts at the very top quartz mining. Runergy has a captive quartz mine along with a metallurgical-grade silicon (MGS) factory with a capacity of 120,000 tons. The company also has a 150,000ton polysilicon factory feeding a 20 GW ingot and wafer production unit. This true vertically integrated manufacturing competence ensures its full control over the entire value chain, mitigating the risk of any external market fluctuation without compromising on quality. 

Rada explained the benefits of complete integration and traceability in the context of USA’s supply chain traceability protocol. The sourcing of all upstream raw materials from a single company with the same types of documentation systems ensures smooth traceability of its cell and module bill of materials (BOM), emphasized Rada. He showed the audience of TaiyangNews conference a sample of a simplified audit checklist, which is otherwise very elaborate and complex, covering each step from module to cell followed by wafer to polysilicon. For example, the make and the origin of the cell can be traced by the module’s serial and batch number, whereas the origin of the wafer can be traced by the cell’s serial and batch number. 

However, for warehouse inventory control traceability of the cell, one must trace the material requisition number of the wafer, likewise for the ingot from which the wafer is produced. The process gets complex when landing at the polysilicon stage, which typically involves multiple suppliers and sources. This is where the crux of traceability lies and creates challenges for importing cells and modules, according to Rada. However, the full in-house control of Runergy’s supply chain simplifies the traceability of its cell and module supply chain. 

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Cutting the clutter: The complex supply chain traceability process can be easier with full in-house control over the whole supply chain, as facilitated by Runergy. (Photo Credit: TaiyangNews)

Product pitch 

Providing an update on Runergy’s TOPCon cell technology, Rada emphasized that his company attained an efficiency of 25.5% by the end of 2023. It also has a roadmap in place to increase it by 0.5% per year for the next 2 years from then 26% in 2024 and 26.5% in 2025. Based on this cell technology,  

Runergy developed multiple module products suitable for various applications. For the residential segment, the company is offering an all-black TOPCon module with a power range of 440 W to 455 W that is built with 108 halfcells and 1.6 mm dual glass. Its <2m2 dimensions of 1762 x 1134 x 30 mm adhere to all regional regulations. Runergy also offers products in 144 half-cell and 156 half-cell configurations for the commercial and industrial (C&I) segment. The HYDH144N8 series, based on 144-halfcut cells has an efficiency of 22.6% and rated power ranging from 560 W to 580 W. The module measures 2278 x 1134 x 35 mm. The HYDH156N8 series is a larger variant with a higher power rating of 600 W to 625 W, but has the same efficiency of 22.6%, and comes in dimensions of 2465 x 1134 x 35 mm. 

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Choice for utility: Runergy has 2 TOPCon-based module series catering to utility-scale projects with peak power ratings of 580 W and 625 W. (Photo Credit: TaiyangNews)

Rada presented the field test report comparing the energy yield of bifacial HY-DH144N8 series, benchmarking it against its own PERC product, HY-DH144P8. The results show that the former had a 3% to 5% higher energy yield. Rada’s presentation also included the various in-house and 3rd party reliability results for the same product. The results of both internal and 3rd party tests indicated that the degradation was just above 2%. Runergy is planning to launch several new products in the coming months, including a product based on HJT cell technology. 

About The Author

Rajarshi Sengupta

MANAGER (TECHNOLOGY & MARKET RESEARCH). He researches on latest solar industry updates and writes technology articles and reports. --Email: [email protected]

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